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Opinion: Daylight time doesn’t save bodies

First published in The News Tribune, Tacoma on May 1, 1985.

As I write this, my body says it should be 4 p.m., but the clock on the wall says 5 p.m. I am still running on standard time, even though all the clocks are running on daylight-saving time.

When I awoke this morning, the man on the radio said it was 5:30. I thought he was lying, because my body thought it was only 4:30 and had another hour to snooze. The man on the radio had to say 5:30 three or four times before he could convince my nerves and muscle cells to get me out of bed.

It will be that way with me for about two weeks. Daylight-saving time is progressive, and intellectually I am all for it. But when it comes to my body, daylight-saving time is akin to jogging and dieting – nice to think about but difficult to put into practice.

It would be different if I looked forward to having all that daylight at the end of the day which daylight-saving time provides. But I don’t. I can take the extra daylight or leave it. When 8 p.m. rolls around, I don’t want to be out weeding the yard or painting the fence. I want to be inside, having a bite of supper. And when I go inside for supper, it matters little how much daylight is left.

Many who do appreciate the extra daylight are probably those who also appreciate jogging and dieting.

Joggers find the extra daylight helpful because it lessens the likelihood they will be run over by cars as they cross streets against traffic lights. I don’t know why some joggers believe they can’t wait for traffic lights. Perhaps all that jogging makes them feel invincible. Perhaps they are hoping someone will run over them so they will have a good excuse not to jog anymore. Whatever the case, joggers should benefit.

Since I am a wogger, the extra daylight benefits me not at all. Woggers are those who walk a lot and jog a little, and they can do it as well in the dark as they can in the daylight. That’s because woggers always stop at traffic lights. In fact, they look forward to stopping at lights because the wait gives them a chance to catch their breaths.

Dieters probably enjoy the extra daylight because they would just as soon be outside weeding the yard or painting the fence as inside eating bean curd and alfalfa sprouts. If I had to look forward to a supper of bean curd and alfalfa sprouts, I would probably put off going inside as long as possible. The more daylight left over at the end of the day, the better, I would say.

I’ve often wondered what it would be like if for one year we instituted daylight-wasting time instead of daylight-saving time. Instead of setting the clocks one hour ahead in the spring, we would set them one hour behind.

What a joy it would be to wake up at 5:30 a.m. and already have it be 6:30 a.m. on our body clocks. It would be like sleeping in an extra hour without actually doing it. It would put twinkles in our eyes, springs in our steps. We wouldn’t doze off in our showers. We wouldn’t accidentally brush our teeth with BenGay.

When evening rolled around, there would be just enough daylight left for us to put our shovels and paint brushes away and go inside to wash up for supper. When it was time for bed, we wouldn’t be kept awake by a sun taking too long to set. Life would be simpler, because we would not have to think up things to do with all that extra daylight.

Don’t you think it’s about time for such an experiment? I do — at least I will for the next two weeks.


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